Radical Egalitarianism Is the Real Threat

The recent GOP debate clearly demonstrates that so-called conservatives exhibit scant consensus on America’s problems. Ted Cruz said we need a commander-in-chief who speaks the truth. John Kasich talked about the need to provide medical services to prisoners while Marco Rubio bemoaned the plight of those waiting for years to legally obtain citizenship. Rand Paul proposed drastic cuts in foreign aid. For Donald Trump the pressing priority was a wall at the Mexican border with a big door for legal immigrants. Jeb Bush stressed the importance of education in today’s economically competitive world and the dangers of dumbing down education. And on and on. All and all, an incoherence that has little to do with conservative principles. 

This hodgepodge is a recipe for electoral disaster but far worse, the scattershot approach can only detract from the deeper problem we now face: radical egalitarianism, and it is that ideological disease, not ephemera like treating all people with respect (Kasich on same-sex marriage) is what self-defined conservatives should be addressing.

Radical egalitarianism asserts that people of different backgrounds possess equal ability and in an ideal world, there should be no differences in accomplishment. And if such variations exist, they, almost by definition, result from discrimination, racism, stereotypes, and similarly reversible evils. Thus, the medical staff at a top hospital is supposed to look like a cross section of America and, since this Utopian outcome rarely occurs, it is up to a coercive government to bring it about.  

The bad news is that radical egalitarianism is metastasizing and the damage inflicted far outweighs anything the 17 GOP candidates mention, including Trump’s horror stories of criminal illegals. 

Radical egalitarianism is easily detected. As Soviet apparatchiks had their specialized vocabulary (e.g., false consciousness) American egalitarians have theirs. Be on the lookout for gaps, as in the gap between whites and blacks in home ownership. Then there are ceilings, the most famous being the glass ceiling that prevents women from occupying the top rungs of industry. Add tests to sort out abilities that egalitarians denounce as “barriers” as if testing for physical strength is a ruse to hinder women from becoming firefighters. But, of all the tip-off words, the most revealing is diversity as in “diversity is our strength,” a sure sign that racial/gender quotas are on the way.

The ongoing damage of this dogma is immense. In K-12 education, for example, billions have been wasted in futile schemes such as the No Child Left Behind to close the achievement gap between whites and Asians on one hand and blacks and Hispanics on the other. Moreover, classes for the gifted have been cut altogether or dumbed down to achieve “fairness.” And let’s not forget hiring teachers and administrators according to race or ethnicity versus ability since “everybody knows” that youngsters perform best when teachers mirror the local community. The latest installment in this Utopian pursuit is imposing punishment by quota, i.e., blacks cannot be disproportionately suspended or expelled, a policy that will assuredly undermine learning.     

Radical egalitarianism is just as bad in higher education. Money better spent on teaching smart students is now squandered on various doomed-to-fail programs to make the diversity numbers. Forget that such outreach has always failed; the show must go on. Millions are thus spent on remediation, creating faux academic programs such as Black Studies and recruiting parasitic administrators (and their staffs) with title such as Chief Diversity Officer. This is a far cry from what transpired in 1957 when the Russians put Sputnik I in orbit -- Washington invested hundreds of millions in the smartest of the smartest in science and engineering.  

Meanwhile the Pentagon is struggling to diversify the SEALs and other elite combat units. According to the Army’s Col. Michael Copenhaver, diversity is a military necessity -- "One thing is for sure: We will find ourselves around the globe. And around the globe you have different cultural backgrounds everywhere. Having that kind of a diverse force can only increase your operational capability." Ashton Carter, the secretary of defense, has ordered the military to monitor the demographic makeup of these units and suggest ways to make them less white and less male.

Those unaware of the ideology’s nefarious impact on business should consult the EEOC guidelines on cleansing the workplace of anything that might conceivably be “unfair” to any certified disadvantaged group. Almost any sound business decision, e.g., hiring clean-cut retail clerks, now opens the door to discrimination litigation. In other words, treat the clean-cut and scruffy as indistinguishable. Similarly, ignore criminal backgrounds in hiring since this may be “discriminatory.” It’s almost a miracle that American businesses do not spend all their time achieving social justice.

Today’s most bizarre example of radical egalitarianism concerns the recent diversity mania in Silicon Valley (and here). Surely America’s expertise in technology is a national treasure and would thus be exempt from dumbing down. Alas, firms like Intel and Apple are now “getting with the program” and investing millions to recruit and train “under-utilized” employees who would never be hired if merit were the sole criteria. While our Chinese rivals are working 24/7 on cutting edge chip technology, American high-tech executives struggle to promote fairness and inclusion. No doubt, it is far easier to design the next generation of microprocessor than bring these diversity hires up to speed but surely this must be worth it in a society that cherishes computers designed by a cross-section of America.

And it will get worse as the war on economic inequality gains traction. Government edicts may soon set the ratios between the highest and lowest paid employees, mandate that women have equal representation on corporate boards and otherwise level “unfair” capitalism.  

Now for the bottom line that should be of the utmost importance for conservatives: radical egalitarianism not only weakens America economically but it is the Viagra for an ever-expanding, ever more powerful state. The reason should be obvious: groups are not equal in ability, and as each new measure to achieve this Utopia fails, statist ideologues will double down rather than abandon the fantasy. If one group is more crime prone than another, woe to those who admit this awkward reality. It is far safer politically to insist that difference can be made to vanish if only government invested in better police training, promoted more police-community communications, passed laws that did not harm minorities, and promoted economic opportunities. If these and similar measures fail (and they will), just arrest by quota (an idea seemingly favored by Hillary Clinton).

Thus understood, issues like how to fight ISIS or tweaking immigration laws are secondary. Radical egalitarianism is far more dangerous and, like carbon monoxide, nobody will notice until it is too late. Perhaps one of these 17 GOP contenders, sensing that his campaign is doomed, will out of desperation finally bell the cat and thus force the others to confront the real threat facing America.